"Toughen up," they tell us, as soon as we encounter the very first problems in our lives. Toughen up or otherwise, this world will eat you.
So, we listen. We lock our emotions up, get bitter and cynical, unable to see even the best of days or people as they pass us by. We limit ourselves and approach everything with caution as if the world is looking out to harm us. Every day, our hearts harden a bit more. We see this as a good thing, as something that comes naturally with age.
We lose our softness.
But does it really have to be like that?
Don't get me wrong - I've been there a million times. My heart got broken, I was hurt deeply. All of us did. It's normal - it means that you cared enough about something.
At the point where it hurts the most, I would also lock all my softness away and let the bitterness in. But as I healed, I'd become more open to this world, and to life as well. My heart would come back, rosy glasses on.
And I would get hurt again. And I would heal. Not quite the same, but with the same love of life.
I watch people around me do the same. And I watch people around me do the opposite. The biggest example being my two grandmothers, two completely different humans.
Both have lost a lot and both have led a really difficult life. However, one of them is angry at the world, bitter and cynical. The other one is still as joyful as a child.
You can't deny the power of softness. It may make us more vulnerable, but it also makes us better. Softness means still seeing the good in people, despite being hurt so many times. Softness means being kind and gentle. It means being the light.
When your heart is soft, you can help other people find joy again too.
There is no strength in locking your heart away, despite what the world may tell you. People who do are actually weak. They choose never to be hurt again and never to care about something substantially again. They are scared. Hiding.
People who open their hearts are truly strong. Even though they hope for the best, they are ready for anything that may come and they accept it. They overcome.
So, if you are hurting right now, thinking that you will never be that stupid again, that you will never allow yourself to get hurt again, remind yourself to stay soft. Heal from your pain. And then embrace life again. It's the only way to be truly happy.